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Magnesium News 2017, April
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April 2017

Japan - Magnesium Newsletter (December)

The Japan Magnesium Association

Sanpo Co.,Ltd. – Magnesium Thixomolded large sized parts for Automotive accelerating.

(Source: “Diecast shinbun” January 30th, 2017)

Sanpo Co.,Ltd. , who manufactures Aluminum and Magnesium products, is expanding and reinforcing facilities in both domestic and abroad.  In domestic, they meet demand for Thixomolded Magnesium parts large enough to Automotive, in addition have started mass production using newly developed material.

They possess turnkey process in Japan with 26 Mg thixomolding machines as well as one 300 ton Sodick Mg-plus injection molding machine.  And so do 3 diecast machines from 50 to 200 ton.  As for machining, 15 robot systems as well as 65 Machining Centers are equipped.  Furthermore various mold and measuring devises are equipped to complete perfect quality.

While thixomolding method has been applied mainly for application of Light electric appliances and camera and so on, large size magnesium molded parts for Automotive application are currently rising demand.  Added one 850 ton in last summer, “we need more than 1,000 ton machine in the future to expand however the machinery maker has no plan to make it.” saying with much regret.  The outstanding advantage is that “thixomolded parts has superior dimensional stability, which leads to simplify post-manufacturing process.”

Concerned material competition against carbon fiber composite material such as CFRP, application hunting activity is being accelerated.  ZA81 which performs excellent thermal conductivity is jointly developed with material maker, which shows good performance for heat sink and inverter etc.  And advanced UH alloy shows tremendously better fluidity suitable for thin wall parts such as PC and camera housing.  On the other hand, diecasting is mainly operated at facilities outside Japan.

NNH – Applies to Magnesium Medical device housing parts.

(Source: “Sokeizai-tsushin” 1st February, 2017)

NNH manufactures Medical device housing parts by diecasting trusted by domestic end-makers, which is X-ray inspection system for medical worker to carry during house visit

The size is much larger than A4.  According to NNH, it is consisted of 3 parts included 2 smaller ones.

“Sai No Kuni Business Arena 2017” – Exhibited Magnesium Bone joint equipment.

(Source: “Sokeizai-tsushin” 1st February, 2017)

Industrial exhibition ”Sai No Kuni Business Arena 2017” was held grandly during 2 days; Feb. 1 – 2 in Saitama City.  One of Economic promotion themes of Saitama Prefecture is Medical category.  Magnesium application spotlighted as Biomaterial was exhibited on panel display.

Consortium among Nittoyumex corporation (Saitama-shi), Medical U&A, Inc.(Osaka-shi),  Technocast (Oosaki-shi, Miyagi pref.) introduced prototype of Bone joint equipment, one of medical devices, which was adopted as Industry-academia collaboration research subsidized project in 2016 jointly with Kobe University Medical department.

“Productization of magnesium bone plate screw performing bioabsorbable property utilizing ultra high purity magnesium”; 99.999% high purity, proposed to enable to resolve strength issue in case of using polymer plastic and to vanish concern of burden while removing operation in case of Titanium parts

“Auto Salon 2017” – Focusing on lightweight magnesium forged wheel.

(Source: “Sokeizai-tsushin” 1st February 2017)

“Auto Salon 2017” Exhibition of both Custom car and Option parts held in Makuhari-messe, Chiba, was held for 3 days from January 13 to 15, reached 124,400 visitors.

Magnesium forged wheel by RK design using Gold foil, Rays Engineering and BBS brand “FZ-MG” were displayed.

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation – New high corrosion resistance metal plating steel wire.

(Source: “Rare Metal News” 1st February 2017, “Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun” 6th February 2017)

In upcoming April, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation released new lineup of “Hard” adding to existing high corrosion resistance metal plating steel wire “Tough-Guard series”, it is reportedly the world first high corrosion resistance metal plating steel based on hard steel wire.

It performs 8 times higher corrosion resistance than existing Zinc metal plate wire, which is able to apply for Electricity communications cable, train hanging wire and civil engineering and construction enabling significant longer life.  And it contributes to operating cost reduction by diminution of frequency to exchange to new one.

Jointly developed with J-WITEX Corporation (Kaizuka-shi, Osaka), wire rod second processing maker, the ability to maintain corrosion resistance of metal plating against twisting and bending process is added, which achieves to fill the demand for power-transmission wires and service wires.

Tough-Guard series is metal plate wire enhanced corrosion resistance, which is made by adding magnesium to Zinc-aluminum alloy.  By added “Hard” series this time, it becomes to cover all of wire market demand.

Amisen - Developed Metal Net using ultra small diameter magnesium wire.

(Source: “Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun” 2nd February 2017)

Amisen has developed Metal Net using 0.07 mm-dia magnesium wire and carries out market development appealing technical strength using superfine raw material wire

Utilizing magnesium lightweight feature, application for Automotive body and CFRP reinforced material is expected to adopt.  10,000,000 JPY revenue is the target in first fiscal year.

Magnesium wire produced by Japan Fine Steel is used as raw material.  Amisen has proprietary technology of taffeta weaving for screen door and insecticide net as core technology.  Magnesium is 2/3 lighter than Aluminum but is easy to cause fatigue breaking during weaving processing.

To overcome this issue, proprietary weaving machine structure was elaborated, which achieved unbreakable process.  Further investigation will be carried out to develop weave method like Tatami mat texture, to test various wire dia-size and to capture optimum wire space.

JMC – Reinforces Magnesium casting business unit.

(Source: “Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun” 14th February 2017)

JMC significantly strengthens Casting and 3D printer business unit capabilities i.e. invests roughly 620,000,000 JPY and 700,000,000 JPY to build new factory in concept center (facility) in Iida-shi, Nagano and another site in same Iida-shi respectively, resulting in new hub production center “Izuki center” by 2018.

The purpose is to supply for rising demand of both Aluminum and Magnesium cast parts for  Automotive, Aviation, Aerospace and defense industry.  125,000,000 JPY is invested for related machine equipment in casting business unit to increase capacity up to approximately 28%.  In addition, 76,000,000 JPY for computer tomograph (CT scan) as well.

New hub production center “Izuki center” is located 20 minutes from existing facility by car and is constructed as casting BU factory with roughly 40,000 square meter in Izuki Industrial site.

Tosei Electrobeam - Laser-type washing device.

(Source: “Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun” 14th February 2017)

Laser-type washing device” Eraser” from Tosei Electrobeam (Tama-gun, Tokyo) is reportedly selling well.  Even though only 1 machine in 2014 and 2 in 2015 has been sold, 3 times or more sales year-to-year basis is expected in 2016.

It took long time but bloomed at last.  Eraser is the first original brand by proprietary developed electron beam welding and laser-beam machining devise, which removes resin on metal surface and rust.
In case that magnesium alloy is covered by 30 micron electrodeposition coating, it is able to be removed at operating rate of 250 square millimeter per second.

Domestic Magnesium Market - December, 2016

(Source: December issue of Import/Export Statistics (customs clearance basis) of METI. Compiled by The Japan Magnesium Association.)

Based on Import/Export Statistics of December 2016, while magnesium metal import increased significantly in November, it dropped down to 2,554.6 tons, 37.1% deep decrease on month-to-month basis (2.0% decrease from the same month previous year) returning to usual level again.  Magnesium powder was 171.8 tons, 40.2% decrease on month-to-month basis (23.5% decrease), and other products were 71.0 tons, 40.2% decrease on month-to-month basis (75.3% decrease), resulting in grand total of 2,797.4 tons, 39.9% decrease on month-to-month basis (5.4% decrease).

The metal category consisted of 4 products as follows; (a) 2,019.3 tons of pure magnesium, 41.9% significant drop on m-to-m basis (2.8% increase) though imports from Russia and Turkey continued.  (b) 528.0 tons of die-casting alloys 8.4% decrease on month-to-month basis (17.6% decrease), import from Korea turned to 0 tons, resulting in shifting to contraction.  (c) high purity magnesium was 1.0 ton in sequence of last month.  (d) 6.4 tons of casting alloy, 13.0% decrease on month-to-month basis (90.2% increase). 

The average import price of magnesium metal in December increased to 282.1 yen per kg, 40.8 yen per kg or 16.9% higher on month-to-month basis reflecting China domestic price rising and Russian high import price at 348.3 yen per kg.  Turkey import price was 265.2 yen per kg.  The price of magnesium alloys increased up to 301.5 yen per kg, 24.7 yen per kg or 8.9% higher on month-to-month basis.

As for the total amount of import from January to December 2016, magnesium metal was 30,276.1 tons (5.1% decrease, from the same period of previous year), magnesium powder was 3,742.8 tons (8.5% decrease) and other products were 2,355.5 tons (3.5% increase).  As a result, the grand total amount of import from January to December was 36,374.4 tons, 4.9% decrease, resulting in total less than previous year for 2nd consecutive year.

In December 2016, an export of magnesium consisted of 2.9 tons of pure magnesium (46.7% decrease from the same month of previous year), all of which was to Thailand after absence of 7 months since May 2016.  13.6 tons of magnesium alloys (81.2% decrease) only to Taiwan.  3.6 tons of magnesium powder and granules (26,966.7% increase) and other products were 9.8 tons (346.3% increase), in which 9.5 tons export to China were included.  The grand total export was 30.4 tons (63.2% decrease).

As for the total amount of export from January to December 2016, pure magnesium metal was 11.2 tons (106.6% increase), magnesium alloy metal was 483.7 tons (58.0% decrease), magnesium powder was 13.6 tons (61.6% increase) and other products were 52.2 tons (65.9% increase).  The grand total amount of export from January to December 2016 was 560.7 tons, 53.2% decrease year to year basis.

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